San, noun

/sæn/, /san/, /sɑːn/
Forms:
Saan, SaenShow more Also Saan, and (formerly) Saen, Sana.
Origin:
NamaShow more Nama, ‘collector (of food)’; a name given to this people by the Khoikhoi (see quotation 1988).
1. A name originally given by the Khoikhoi to a member of an indigenous people of southern and south-western Africa, traditionally hunter-gatherers, now living mainly in the Kalahari regions of Angola, Botswana, and Namibia, in dwindling numbers; Bosjesman sense 1; Bushman sense 1 a; Houzouana; Saap; Soa; cf. Sonqua. Also attributive. See also Bush adjective2, Heikum, Khoisan sense 1, Masarwa.
Note:
In the early 1970s, academic and scientific writers preferred the term ‘San’ to ‘Bushman’, the latter being perceived as pejorative. However, ‘San’ is now believed by some to have been a derogatory word when used by the Khoikhoi, and ‘Bushman’ is again in use among scholars (see quotation 1993).
Note:
Latterly the supposed distinction (in culture, and often in language) between San and Khoikhoi has come to be considered as spurious, and many writers now refer to these peoples collectively as ‘the Khoisan’.
1830 A. Smith in S. Afr. Quarterly Jrnl I. 171To this [division] the other tribes, as well as its own members, apply the name of Saap or Saan, and history describes a portion thereof under the appellation of Bushmen.
1993 J.A. Louw Informant, PretoriaSaan is a Khoi word meaning collector i.e. of food. It has a slightly pejorative meaning and the Bush people do not like it.
2. The group of languages or dialects spoken by this people; Bosjesman sense 2; Bush noun2; Bushman sense 2. Also attributive. See also Khoisan sense 2.
Note:
Although general Khoikhoi and general San are said to be ‘distinct language families’, to the early colonists each appeared to be understood by speakers of the other. See also Khoikhoi sense 2.
1883 R. Crust Mod. Langs of Afr. II. 442Bleek was engaged busily working at his San Dictionary up to ten o’clock on the night of August 16, 1875, and he was suddenly called away the following morning.
1977 C.F. & F.M. Voegelin Classification & Index World’s Lang. 201South African Khoisan. Central...36. San = Saan.
A name originally given by the Khoikhoi to a member of an indigenous people of southern and south-western Africa, traditionally hunter-gatherers, now living mainly in the Kalahari regions of Angola, Botswana, and Namibia, in dwindling numbers; Bosjesman1; Bushman1 a; Houzouana; Saap; Soa;
The group of languages or dialects spoken by this people; Bosjesman2; Bushnoun; Bushman2. Also attributive.

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